I have a lot of respect for those who are able to get things done a week before it's due. Actually, even a few days before is impressive to me. Maybe this might not be the best place to publicly announce my bad habit of procrastinating, but if I'm being honest, I tend to procrastinate quite a bit. However the inspiration for this blog comes from me spending hours doing homework because I've procrastinated a little too much lately, and I know I'm not alone in this. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who likes to procrastinate as much as I do.
It began in middle school when I was starting to become more involved with extracurriculars and became a little less focused on my academics (quick disclaimer: I've always been a good student as I've never failed a class and passed 95% of my classes with at least a B). I wanted to do the things that I enjoyed like student government, sports, theatre and choir. Those were things that I was passionate about. I wanted to give more attention to those things, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But, in the midst of my newfound passions, my academics were often left to the last minute to do. And although I still struggle with procrastinating, I do have a few helpful tips for my fellow procrastinators in the world.
ONE: MAKE A LIST. This is always the first thing I do, especially when I know I have a lot to do. It's super helpful to organize my thoughts and make sure I'm able to keep track of what I've done and what I still need to do. Here's what my list looks like:
Your list doesn't have to look anything like mine. You can write it on 10 different sticky notes, on an index card, on your phone, anywhere that's most helpful for you! I like to keep my To Do List in a little journal so I can reference back to previous lists just in case! It's also helpful if I want to write something down that I need to do for the following week.
TWO: SET TIME ASIDE TO DO THE WORK. Alright, ask yourself: do you work better in the morning, afternoon or evening? I know for a fact that once 3:00pm hits, I need a nap and I have very little brain power. I'm the most productive before lunch in the mornings and after about 8 pm. I don't know the psychology behind that, BUT knowing when you're the most productive is ideal to make sure that you'll get done what you need to get done.
THREE: STUDY ENVIRONMENT. Your work environment is important to keep you productive. My ideal setting is to be in a room with dimmer lighting, music playing (preferably without headphones), and plenty of desk space for my coffee and other important things. I don't mind distractions as long as I can quickly get back into the groove of things. I do not study well in the library but I am very productive at coffee shops. However, I know plenty of people who are the opposite and work a lot better in the library. Setting yourself up at the right time in the right place is definitely a great start to productivity.
FOUR: TAKE BREAKS (especially for long study sessions). I am definitely someone who gets distracted easily and needs to take breaks. A one minute stretch break or a five minute dance party is usually good enough for me. Don't overwhelm your brain with too much work at once. Allow it to rest a little bit! I recommend dance parties to help get the blood flowing and make sure your brain is able to relax for a little bit. I don't have any pictures or videos of me having a dance break, but here's a picture of my roommate frolicking in a field with huge pomegranates and having the time of her life.
FIVE: INSTALL APPS AND EXTENSIONS. Sorry, I've procrastinated looking up some of these for you because I don't use them myself but I know there are a lot that exist! I haven't used any apps to help me be productive because I usually just put my phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode. As for my computer, I've used Pomodoro.cc to help block websites for a set amount of time and it allows you to take a break to visit those websites. For example, it'll block Facebook for 50 minutes, and will let me go on Facebook for 10. It's completely customizable, and I know there's a lot of other apps just like it!
SIX: JUST DO IT. Starting something you don't want to do is the hardest part sometimes. The discipline and self-control to actually do it might suck, but once you get the ball rolling, you'll get into the zone where you're super productive. At that point, you just gotta maintain that discipline and try not to get out of the zone! Get things done and start crossing things off your list! I don't know about you, but I feel quite satisfied and proud when I get to cross something off my list or put that little check mark next to something that I've finished.
SEVEN: TREAT YOURSELF. Speaking of being satisfied and proud, treat yourself. Whatever you feel like you deserve, just spoil yourself a little bit. Did you just finish a paper EARLY? Oh snap. Treat yourself to that venti caramel macchiato at Starbucks. Did you finish a group project? You deserve some food. Grab a slice of pizza. Had extra time to study for your final and feeling like you're going to ace it? That deserves a good night's rest. My favorite treats include eating ice cream straight from the tub and watching some Netflix. Studying isn't easy but the rewards you give yourself and the grades you get are going to be SO WORTH IT.
Well, those are my tips for procrastinating procrastination. If you have any other tips for me, just let me know! I'd love to hear them!